Unbounding the Future:
the Nanotechnology Revolution
This lists further sources of nontechnical information on nanotechnology and
related topics. (For more technical material, see the Technical Bibliography.)
This nonprofit organization was founded to address the
opportunities and challenges posed by nanotechnology and other
powerful anticipated technologies. Materials available include
newsletter, the Background orientation series,
occasional papers, and conference tapes. Students and others
planning careers in nanotechnology-related research can request Briefing
#1: Studying Nanotechnology. The Foresight Institute sponsors conferences on
both technical and policy issues raised by nanotechnology.
Readers concerned about endangered species should inquire about
the BioArchive Project. The institute's
address appears at the end of the Afterword.
The Foresight Institute on the WWW: http://www.foresight.org/
Engines of Creation: the Coming Era of
by K. Eric Drexler
This first book on nanotechnology (Doubleday 1986) introduces
the subject from a more abstract and long-term perspective.
Topics covered include nanotechnology's relationship to
scientific knowledge, the evolution of ideas, artificial
intelligence, human life span, limits to growth, healing the
environment, prevention of technological abuse, space
development, and the need for new social technologiessuch
as hypertext publishing
and fact forumsto help us deal with rapid technological
Available in Britain from Fourth Estate, and in Japan from
Personal Media (under the title Machines that Create:
Engines of Creation is
now available on the WWW.
Other Books and Essays
Atkins, P.W. Molecules. (Scientific American Library
Series #21, 1987). An elegantly written and heavily illustrated
introduction to the molecular world, showing many molecules in everyday use.
Bennett, James C. Creating Competitive Space Trade: a
Common Market for Space Enterprise.Santa Monica, CA: Reason Foundation Policy
Study No. 123 (August 1990), Proposed a framework for
international technology regulation which could be extended to
Brand, Stewart. The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT.New
York: Viking, 1987. Vividly describes the Lab's work on the
personalized information technologies we'll be using tomorrow.
Burgess, Jeremy. Microcosmos. New York: Cambridge
University Press, 1987. A collection of beautiful images of the
Burnham, John C. How Superstition Won and Science Lost.New
Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers, 1987. Tells the story of scientists'
declining effort to reaching out to the public, and the resulting
erosion of public understanding (which ultimately leads to flawed
Drexler, K. Eric. "Exploring Future Technologies,"
in Doing Science: The Reality Club ed. John
Brockman. New York: Prentice Hall, 1991. An essay describing the exploratory
engineering approach to understanding future technological
Drexler, K. Eric. "Technologies of Danger and
Wisdom," in Directions and Implications of Advanced
Computing, Vol. 1 eds. Jonathan P. Jacky and Douglas
Schuler, eds. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1989. This essay discusses how
computer technologies could be used to strengthen social
mechanisms for dealing with complex problems. The volume is based
on the first major conference of the Computer Professionals for
Milbrath, Lester. Envisioning a Sustainable Society.
Albany NJ: State University of New York Press, 1989. A broad work
which includes a brief discussion of nanotechnology's potential
Wildavsky, Aaron. Searching for Safety. New
Brunswick, HJ: Bowling Green State University, 1988. This book
documents how using new technologies canand
doesreduce old risks more rapidly than it creates new ones,
and how either too little or too much caution can decrease
Articles and Magazines
Encyclopedia Britannica's Science and the Future Yearbook
1990. This annual includes an eighteen-page introduction to
nanotechnology; offprints are available from the Foresight
Institute (address appears in the Afterword).
"Computer Recreations." Scientific American,
Jan. 1988. A column describing molecular mechanical computers.
"The Invisible Factory." The Economist,
Dec. 9, 1989. A brief, clear, and technically accurate
introduction to nanotechnology.
"Where the Next Fortunes Will be Made." Fortune,
Dec. 5, 1988. Includes a discussion of the business consequences
Information and publications on biostasis and future medical
capabilities are available from the Alcor Life Extension Foundation,
12327 Doherty Street, Riverside, CA 92503; telephone (714)
736-1703. [Current address and phone: 7895 E. Acoma Dr., Ste.
110, Scottsdale, AZ 85260; 1-800-367-2228]
Science News is a weekly newsmagazine, accessible to
the nontechnical reader. A good guide to (among other things) the
latest developments on the path to nanotechnology.